12.29.2009 Policy Points

Unemployment Claims in NC: Week of 12/5

For the benefit week ending on December 5th, 17,994 North Carolinians filed initial claims for unemployment insurance, and 192,669 individuals applied for continuing insurance benefits. Compared to the prior week, there were fewer initial and continuing claims. These figures come from data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Averaging new and continuing claims over a four-week period — a process that helps adjust for seasonal fluctuations and better illustrates trends — shows that an average of 21,743 initial claims were filed over the last four weeks, along with an average of 190,762 continuing claims. Compared to the previous four-week period, both initial and continuing claims were higher.

One year ago, the four-week average for initial claims stood at 26,483 and the four-week average of continuing claims equaled 148,544.

The graph (right) shows the changes in unemployment insurance claims (as a share of covered employment) in North Carolina since the recession’s start in December 2007.

Although new and continuing claims appear to have peaked for this business cycle, the claims levels remain elevated and point to a labor market that remains extremely weak. Especially troubling is the high level of continuing claims, which suggests that unemployed individuals are finding it extremely difficult to find new positions.

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